The heavier it was, the faster it fell. That’s what I was thinking when I peered at the beads of water clinging onto the window. Losing against gravity, the larger raindrops soon could no longer hold. They plummeted, dragging nearby drops with it and leaving rivers in their wake. In holding too much, they had brought about both their own and others demise… Yet, the tear-stained glass looked like falling stars that twinkled with the passing of cars at night.
I turned my head away from the window. There would be no bus appearing around the block corner. I had just missed it a couple minutes ago according to the bus tracker app. As my luck would have it, my last evening class ended a few minutes late, making me narrowly miss the bus. I exited the app in slight vexation, and the blue light flickered to black as I turned off the phone screen. I could make the next train if I walked, but the current spring shower was discouraging.
Although, I did enjoy hearing the rain as it burbled along the peripheries of the roof and drummed a harmoniously discordant rhythm. In fact, I loved rainy days. I just usually liked to be in the coziness of my own home to properly appreciate it.
I glanced down at the black and white umbrella in my left hand. Should I walk anyway? I was eager to be at home after a long week, and the lure of the weekend enticed me. Sighing, I peered at the misty city streets. While debating, the cacophony of the rain as it streamed from the skies hushed to a sibilance. The sudden spring shower was nearing its end. Like a signal, I then decided to walk. A little water never hurt anyone anyway.
A minute into the walk, however, I remembered that I would have to make a detour halfway through my usual route to the train station. The gentrifying city always had some construction occurring daily, and one of the new buildings happened to be on my route. I had first seen the rubble of the previous building when the bus took me to campus this past afternoon.
This realization was another mild irritation, but I would just have to cross over the four lane street to the other side and then return over again to reach the station. These small annoyances were nothing compared to the real stressors of daily life.
As I walked, I began planning my course of action for tonight and the days until classes started again next week. Work at school, work at my internship, work at home. I was always working, working for something else rather than myself. I couldn’t remember the last time I caught up on the latest music or movies or read something purely for leisure. The art supplies from previous years collected dust, and the piece I last created dated from high school.
What happened to those days where the world promised endless opportunity and tomorrow was assured to bring new wonders? Back then, the day and future felt truly magical and boundless. But the inevitable reality crept up unexpectedly, and I soon became aware that I had actually been cycling through the same sequences for years. This so-called living became a chore.
Tilting my chin and umbrella up, I gazed at the hazy cityscape awash with watercolor hues. The glares of the vehicles and downtown lights bounced off the rain and slick streets. The whizzing and honking of passing and distant traffic melded into the susurrant symphony of the fading downpour. Whenever it rained, it felt like the world became still. I could only hear the sound of the rain pattering, echoing on the surfaces it spilled onto… All other sounds are thrums in a far off distance, and the sounds I made seem to be amplified.
The light in my eyes dulled as my cynicism continued. For all my internal grousing, I had been born into this lot, and I had chosen to stick with it too. Call it societal pressures and a well-groomed conscience since childhood, I hadn’t made any real effort to chase after my dreams. I reasoned with my inner self that I couldn’t abandon my responsibilities and the most important people in my life just to satisfy my selfishness. This lack of ambition, no, this suffocation of ambition hindered down by realizations of my true reality and tucked away as if I had none perhaps had started since that day…
I arrived at the block of the building being constructed. A few meters before the crosswalk, metal side bars with lumber planks as roofing provided a somewhat sheltered walkway on the sidewalk. It lasted for a few paces before being blocked off completely. Instead of walking through it, I walked on top of the curb around it to the crosswalk. I had never gotten rid of this childish habit of mine. It was something about walking on a usually untrodden, possibly risky path that made me want to balance my steps and feel like I was a little closer to the sky.
It was a red walking light, so I could wait for it to turn green or for a good break in the traffic. I was a bit worried that I’d get splashed by any incoming cars if I stood too close to the road, so I took a step back and stuck my head out to check the road situation. The next wave of cars were stopped at an earlier traffic light.
For a split second, I entertained the idea of traversing the short span around the construction by walking on the road itself. However, any cars in the closest lane would have little room to pass me by without crossing over onto the next. I wasn’t so keen on causing a traffic jam or being close enough to a car for someone inside to swipe me right off the road. Such things could occur in this large city with crazy drivers and a past history of sporadic hoodlums. Of course, if anything actually happened, I was assured I could distract or whack offenders with my umbrella and possibly execute some nasty kicks before escaping… These ridiculous what-if scenarios always popped up in my head. Maybe it was just my way of adding a layer of excitement to an otherwise ordinary life.
Since the opposite side was also clear, I halted my wild imaginations and scurried across the lanes before any cars arrived. I knew I would make it, but I still breathed an inward sigh of relief when I reached the other side. Although I had seen this side of the street every day, the unfamiliar walk was a little thrilling, like I was exploring a new part of the city. I reveled in the fresh perspective and soon reached the end of the block. The walking light to go straight was red, and the cars kept coming this time.
Perhaps due to the rain, it felt like I paused by some natural force of the world instead of the light or traffic. Like a brief respite from the stresses of life, my thoughts wandered. It was a moment of reflection, a quiet contemplation of the world around me. I only heard myself, as if I entered another world that was somehow more serene, and clear…
The light was green. I walked straight across, but once I reached the end, I wondered why I hadn’t instead crossed back to the other side of the road instead of waiting for a green light to continue in the same forward direction. It didn’t really matter in terms of distance or time to catch the train, so I shrugged it off. I actually rather liked this new side of the road, this blunder wasn’t so bad. I enjoyed the continued fresh perspective and soon approached the last crosswalk to the train station.
Before I reached it, I scanned the traffic on both sides. It was clear. The crosswalk light on the other side was flashing red and counting down from eight. That meant the previous wave of traffic had already passed before the traffic light turned red and the walking light turned green. Even though I only had a few paces to the actual crosswalk lines, it seemed pointless to waste a few seconds to properly cross the street. So I walked over diagonally to the opposite side.
I wouldn’t beat the clock to the other side, but it didn’t matter since I would arrive before the ensuing traffic.
I almost felt competitive as I picked up my pace to finish before zero. I knew I still wouldn’t make it; I don’t know why I made this silly game on the spur of the moment. Perhaps I was just yet again adding another fictional layer of excitement to my life.
As my lids transiently closed in a blink, I wondered if in wistfully wishing to return to the past, my pent up imagination needed somewhere to vent. But it didn’t matter as I had given myself a losing game as if subconsciously quelling such wishes and frivolous envisages.
Suddenly, the rain departed swiftly, and I opened my eyes. Like cleared up foggy lenses, I was struck by the sudden vividness of the world with only its opalescent shimmer to remind me of the fleeting spring rain…
Can you escape from this mundane cycle?
Am I a dreamer, or do I wish upon stars? Wishes are hopes without action. But dreams are not necessarily without action, too.
Between wishes and dreams coming true, which would I choose? Dreams often encompass wishes. Together, wishes create the dream of a better reality, better future.
Hence, isn’t a dream coming true more appealing? But dreams of the imagination are quite rare. Even if the dream becomes reality, the reality never quite matches the imagination.
So let the dream remain a dream, for this world could neither grant my wishes nor my dreams. This dream may only be a blissful fantasy when I close my eyes and relinquish my heart to my deepest imaginations. Still, let me live inside them.
If only I could dream forever…
…in your world.